LUKE GETS LEEDS OFF TO A FLYER
LEEDS new boys Luke Murphy and Matt Smith combined to earn a dramatic injury-time victory.
The sides looked to be heading for a point each as the game entered the last of four added minutes following a fascinating contest.
Then, Smith rose to flick on a long free-kick for the onrushing Murphy to squeeze the ball home from close range.
It capped a dream debut for Murphy, signed for £1m from League One Crewe in the summer, and manager Brian McDermott was understandably beaming with delight for his new recruit.
“I thought he was excellent,” McDermott said. “He’s played at Wembley and scored a great goal there, so he’s no stranger to this type of atmosphere, playing in front of 30,000.
“He can get forward, score goals and is a great passer. He’s only 23 and is one for the future but he’s also one for now. He’s shown he can handle this step-up and this type of situation.
“It’s a great result and great performance, but we can’t get carried away. We are going to have to work hard this season.
“I had the same at Reading where I had to sell key players and not have the biggest of budgets, but sometimes you have to work hard and be together to get results.
“I was delighted with the impact of the two strikers. I have always been fortunate to have subs that can change games and I have always been fortunate with late winners.”
Brighton’s new boss, Oscar Garcia, said his style of play would be heavily influenced by the many years spent as both a player and coach at Spanish giants Barcelona.
The opening goal, on 13 minutes, would certainly not have looked out of place at the Nou Camp.
A crisp passing move was finished first time by Leonardo Ulloa following full-back Bruno Saltor’s perfectly-timed ball across Paddy Kenny’s goal.
The lead lasted just six minutes, until Ross McCormack did superbly well to fashion a chance under pressure in the area and beat Tomasz Kuszczak after Michael Tonge’s right-wing cross had evaded the visiting defence.
Leeds were grateful to Kenny just after the hour when he produced an excellent double save to deny Andrew Crofts and then Inigo Calderon.
Leeds thought they had won it in the last minute when substitute Poleon cut in from the left and curled an effort towards the top corner.
Kuszczak did brilliantly to palm the shot away and, moments later, Brighton almost snatched it in a frantic finish.
Kenny showed great reactions to keep out Will Buckley’s closerange header.
Yet, there was still time for more drama and for debutant Murphy to become an instant hero.
Garcia said his players were disappointed with the winning goal and felt the referee had missed a clear handball.
“I couldn’t see the handball from my position, but everybody said it was,” insisted Garcia.
“It is very difficult to be a referee and, if he missed it, I can understand, but we had a chance five minutes before to win the game.
“We started really well but, after the first Leeds goal, we became a little afraid and dropped back. We were much better in the second half.
“For the time I have had with the players, I am pleased with how we have played. But there are a lot of things we can do to improve.
“I want to play a certain way and that will take time for the players to get used to.There were certain things I didn’t like about our play and the players will know what they are on Sunday.”
WE’VE DONE IT: Luke Murphy, right, after bagging Leeds’ last-gasp winner
TUSSLE: Leeds’ Lee Peltier, right, and Ashley Barnes